Yesterday, we mentioned in passing that Lindsey Graham was swinging through Missouri in order to help defeat incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, with a special focus on the stakes and lessons of the Kavanaugh confirmation fight. We cited his widely-shared statement during the much-watched committee hearing, in which he angrily told his colleagues from the other party that based on their conduct, he hoped they will not regain power. In case you missed it, or would like a refresher, here's the righteous tirade that so many conservatives cheered as a moment of clarity and catharsis:
It's obvious that Graham's passion on this issue has not subsided. Watch him close his pep talk to Missouri Republicans on Monday, drawing a crescendo of applause. Kavanaugh was not a mere subtext of his remarks. The South Carolina Senator could not have been any more explicit, drawing a bright line between McCaskill's 'no' vote and accommodating silence over her colleagues' embrace of character assassination, and the need to elect Republican Josh Hawley to oust her. He's still en fuego:
"If we don't win big, they're gonna get the wrong message...if we win here in Missouri, it'll be pretty clear what happened...This is a referendum on who you want to run this country...This is a big deal. If we win here, it will be the most visible symbol that Kavanaugh did matter...This is the 'Show Me State.' I want you to show the whole country that what [Democrats] did will not work, and the only way for this to matter, is for them to lose. If you want to pay them back, elect Josh Hawley."
One of the other critical Senate races I referenced yesterday is playing out in Indiana, where GOP nominee Mike Braun has built a small lead in recent polling. Here's his "closing argument"-style ad, followed by Hoosier State Democrats' un-subtle, paid effort to underline Braun by pumping up one of the marginal right-leaning candidates on the ballot:
In North Dakota, Kevin Cramer is finishing strong with a commercial featuring two popular statewide Republicans endorsing him:
And in the nip-and-tuck Nevada contest, an enthusiastic final pitch from (by far) the most well-liked politician in the state certainly can't hurt Dean Heller's chances of hanging on:
Nevada race is on a knife edge, but it helps to have the most popular leader in the state (top 10 in the country) making a direct to camera appeal on your behalf. pic.twitter.com/V2dBg3eyS2— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) October 29, 2018
I'll leave you with an excerpt from the largest newspaper in New Jersey's extraordinary endorsement of Bob Menendez. They're essentially arguing that voters must elect an unethical crook in order to help thwart President Trump:
Before he was caught in 2015, Sen. Robert Menendez broke Senate rules by routinely accepting expensive gifts, including private jets to luxury resorts abroad. He kept those gifts secret, breaking another rule. He then used his office to promote the personal and business interests of the man who paid the bills. All that was the unanimous conclusion of the Senate ethics committee, including all its Democrats. It's a miracle that Menendez escaped criminal conviction, and an act of profound narcissism that he stayed in the race despite this baggage, putting a Democratic seat at risk while Donald Trump sits in the White House...when you get past ethics, the central issue in this race is Donald Trump. The question is which candidate can best fight Trump's toxic policies, his grotesque appeals to racial and ethnic tribalism, and his corrosive attacks on the pillars of our democracy, starting with the rule of law. That makes this an easy decision: Menendez is the better choice, by far. He has our endorsement.
This is the logic that many conservatives rejected in the Alabama Senate race, in which they were told to hold their nose and support a deeply compromised nominee as a means of denying the other tribe any victory. It's an understandable calculation on some level, but there must be a limit to partisanship. One wonders where the editors of the Star Ledger might draw their line. Apparently, they couldn't draw it to even remain neutral in a race in which they'd recently called on the incumbent to resign. With millions in emergency funds pouring into the state to salvage Menendez's flagging campaign, another poll shows a tight race -- this one with the incumbent below 50 percent.